Worship at Home for November 19,2023

Dear Friends,

This is Turkey Supper week and the beginning of our busy holiday season. During the month of December, I will be leading an Advent study titled “Experiencing Christmas.” I hope that you will join me after worship on Sundays in December.

If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 573-832-2475 (cell).

  • The Turkey Supper will be on Saturday, November 18.
  • Congregational Budget Meeting on Sunday, November 19 after worship
  • Totenfest on Sunday, November 26 with Hanging of the Greens after worship. Please let us know if there is someone who has passed away in the last year whom you would like include during the Totenfest service.
  • Advent Tea on Saturday, December 2, please call the church office to reserve your seating at 11am or 2pm
  • Christmas Cantata on Sunday, December 3 at 3pm
  • Cookie Sale will be on Saturday December 9. We are asking church members and friends to bake 3 batches of 3 dozen cookies each.


Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Judges 4:1-7 and Psalm 123 • 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 •
Matthew 25:14-30

Sermon: Investment

We are encouraged to make financial investments. How many times do we see advertisements about financial advisors on television and the internet? Our banks encourage us to save and to invest our money wisely. Preferably with our local bank. Warnings abound about not saving for retirement, college, a home, or vacation. Being a financial advisor or investment banker is seen as a worthy career.

Investments are made to prepare for future events. For the boys, I invested money in a 529 college savings plan. For retirement I have IRAs and 401ks. With interest rates increasing, I have encouraged my sons to put money into CD’s. All of this with the anticipation of planning for future financial needs.

In the parable of the talents, Jesus uses financial imagery to teach the disciples about what they should do when he is no longer physically present in their lives. Jesus uses extravagant examples of wealth to illustrate his point. A talent equaled the accumulation of 20 years of labor for an average worker. For a man to entrust this sum of money with his servants would have been mind boggling for those who heard the story.

This is not a story about being a wise investor even though some prosperity Gospel preachers might lead you to believe that it is. This story is about using all that Jesus has taught and entrusted with us to further the kingdom of God. Jesus begins this parable saying, "For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them” (Matthew 24:14, NRSV) Professor Caroline Lewis in the Working Preacher Podcast for this week, points out that the word translated property can be translated as “All the things that I have.” Jesus is entrusting with his followers all that he said and did during his ministry. All that Jesus entrusts all that he has to us. This speaks of an enormous gift, generous spirit, and the frightening impossibility of the task.

I must confess to some anxiety concerning the enormity of task that Jesus presents to us. What am I to do with this enormous gift? What if I fail? What if I am cheated by the unscrupulous? What if God is not happy with my work? What if I make the wrong choices? The list goes on and on.

Such anxiety may paralyze us as individuals and as members of the church. Often it is easier just to bury the good news and go about our daily lives. I know that Jesus loves me, but what if others make fun of me when I express this. What if we do something to share God’s love with the world and fail?

The disciples often failed and failed spectacularly. Peter sunk when he walked on water and denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed. The book of the Acts of the Apostles speaks of the early church. Many people hear the Gospel and responds. The book tells of tensions and failures as well.

Yet they persevered for the promise of joy. “His master said to him, 'Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:23. They took risks and were rewarded. It is the one who was afraid to take risks for the Gospel who was reprimanded.

Let us take risks for Jesus. Let us not be afraid to share God’s love with the world. Even if we fail upon occasion, we will be in good company with the saints who have gone before us. But if just one of our investments pans out over the long term, just think of the joy of the master and for all of us.

Prayer: God of joy, may I appreciate all that you entrust with me in the sharing of the Gospel. May I have the courage to use your gifts joyfully and wisely. Amen.

Prayer list: All who have been on our list for a while, Mark’ s brother Billy, Delores W., Tyra, Freya, Vicki B., Barb Z., Jesse, Tammy. Jennifer, Richard, Tamara, John, Dixon’s great granddaughter, Ashlely and Cody, Garth, Linda, Tessa, Carl, Kimbra, Liz’s father, Dannie, Lathe, Marilyn, Kris, Lee Ann, Bob, Louise, Janet, Linda, Keetha and all who are in need about which we do not know. If you know of anyone who would like a prayer shawl, please let us know.

Prayers for all the places in the world where there is war, special prayers for Israel and Gaza.